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Indian Affairs adds two top Native American directors

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) named two Native Americans to top positions in the department in June. Bartholomew “Bart” Stevens of the San Carlos Apache Tribe is the deputy bureau director for field operations, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kimberly Bouchard, of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin, is the regional director of the Eastern Regional Office in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Seminole Tribe and Miccosukee Tribe are part of the BIA’s Eastern Region, with a field office in Hollywood. Bouchard has previously served as the BIA official during swearing in ceremonies for newly elected leaders during the Seminole Tribe’s Inauguration Day.

“Their many years of experience from working at agency and regional office levels show how they have created effective and sustained tribal and employee relationships over time, which are invaluable as we work to meet the evolving demands of our employees and the important tribal priorities which they serve,” BIA director Darryl LaCounte said in a statement.

Stevens was previously the regional director for the BIA’s Navajo Regional Office in Gallup, New Mexico, where he served for more than two years. He also served as superintendent of the BIA’s Uintah and Ouray Agency in Fort Duchesne, Utah. Stevens has also worked for the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) in various leadership positions overseeing BIE-funded schools in 23 states, including Florida.

“Throughout my career, I have pledged not only to uphold the federal trust responsibilities to the tribes, but to leave Indian Country a better place than when I joined federal service,” Stevens said in a statement.

Steven’s Albuquerque office supports the BIA’s 12 regions and 83 agencies to deliver program services to all 574 federally recognized tribes, as well as individuals, directly or through contracts, grants or compacts.

Meanwhile, Bouchard has 27 years of experience at the BIA. She’s worked with the BIA’s Great Lakes Agency in Ashland, Wisconsin, and was a BIA deputy superintendent where she advised on trust service programs such as forestry, natural resources, probate and real estate services. She has held many other positions throughout her career.

“I am committed to continuing the BIA’s mission of supporting all tribes in their desire for self-determination while ensuring their economic development goals are realized,” Bouchard said in a statement.

Bouchard’s Nashville office serves 34 federally recognized tribes with a service area that includes 460,980 acres held in trust and 102,677 acres of restricted fee lands.

The BIA is the oldest bureau in the Department of the Interior. It provides services to approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives and has 5,000 employees within its four main offices of field operations, Indian services, justice services and trust services.

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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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